A female SeaLink ferry staff member has been assaulted in an "appalling" attack by a customer amid rising threats and tension at a Waiheke Island terminal.
On November 7, the employee was assaulted at the Kennedy Point terminal on Waiheke Island. Others have also been threatened by certain ferry customers.
SeaLink chief executive Steve Chapman said transport infrastructure upgrades had been causing traffic and parking restrictions at the terminal, causing some customers to vent their frustrations at SeaLink employees.
But the attack on their employee was "disgraceful and totally unacceptable", he said.
"Our employees go to work every day faced with operating challenges that are beyond their control. They are trying to do their best for our customers.
"But over recent weeks we have seen rising verbal threats and increasing tension."
In the past month there were three episodes of threatening behaviour towards staff. This was the fourth and most violent, Chapman said.
"This physical attack on one of our employees, who was simply doing her job, was appalling."
The woman needed treatment at A&E but fortunately did not need overnight care, Chapman said.
She was now resting at home and being supported by SeaLink.
SeaLink was providing support to the rest of its Waiheke team, including security services at the terminal.
Police have been contacted and are investigating the incident.
The transport infrastructure upgrades at Kennedy Point were due to be completed in December.
A police spokeswoman said they were speaking to all parties involved and their investigation as ongoing.